Schmidt acknowledges that there are risks with AI, but the benefits outweigh the potential negatives.
“The example I would offer is, would you not invent the telephone because of the possible misuse of the telephone by evil people? No, you would build the telephone and you would try to find a way to police the misuse of the telephone,” said Schmidt in an on-stage interview at the VivaTech conference in Paris last week.
Schmidt argued against AI concerns from Elon Musk and scientist Stephen Hawking in the past.
Schmidt remains involved as a technical advisor at Google after stepping down as executive chairman in December. His work focusses on new applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence.
During the interview, Schmidt was also asked how AI and public policy can be developed so that some groups aren’t “left behind.”
Schmidt said the government should fund research and education around these technologies. Everyone will benefit from AI advancements, according to Schmidt. One example he shared was that data shows workers get higher wages doing more complicated jobs. AI can help them do these jobs.
The former CEO also argued that AI is a net positive for jobs. According to Schmidt, there will be “too many jobs.” As society ages, it will have less people working and paying taxes to fund crucial services. AI can help make the work force more productive and scalable to fill in the gaps.
“The fact of the matter is that AI and machine learning are so fundamentally good for humanity,” said Schmidt.